New details have surfaced regarding the murder of Kenyan-born Bahraini athlete, Damaris Muthee Mutua, whose body was found on Tuesday, April 19 in her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
Iten town police commander Tom Makori said that Muthee’s boyfriend has been treated as the main suspect in the murder.
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Makori added that police are actively looking for the suspect, who has since been identified as Eskinder Hailemaryam Folie. He had allegedly confessed to the killing and had been training at the same facility and has since fled Kenya.
“The suspect called a friend whom they were training together and informed him that he has killed a girlfriend and the body was in the house,” Makori told the media.
Keiyo North Deputy County Commissioner, Julius Maiyo weighed in on Makori’s sentiments, noting that the suspect had escaped to Ethiopia on Saturday, April 16, the same day Muthee was murdered. Police had traced his recent phone calls to Ethiopia.
Police also highlighted that there were no visible injuries on the decomposing body, indicating that Muthee may have died via strangulation.
“The slain athlete had visited the Ethiopian boyfriend on Saturday and we are suspecting that she was killed the same night because the body is decomposing.
“The police got reports that the Ethiopian had killed his girlfriend and when the officers came to their residence, they found it locked. They broke the door and found the decomposing body,” Maiyo stated.
He noted that efforts to get extradition orders were ongoing so that the suspect can be questioned and charged.
Athletes who trained with Muthee described her as a hard-working sportswoman who has been training in Iten and Kapsabet.
“I did not know that she had an Ethiopian boyfriend. She had only told me about the father of her son, who is a Kenyan,” athlete Christine Kambua stated.
Muthee had amassed accolades during the 20 kilometres Marrakesh Marathon on October 7, 2018 where she finished first at a time of 1:08:28.
According to records by World Athletics, her last involvement was the 10KM International de Dakhla in Dakhla, Morocco on December 22, 2019, where she finished seventh at a time of 33:14. Her only other major success was still in Morocco but on May 14, 2017, in the 10 km race in Fes, placing first in 33:38.
She also participated in the Maputo half marathon in 2018 as well as Agadir Marathon in Morocco in 2017, placing second on both occasions.
Muthee’s murder comes after another athlete was on October 13, 2021, found dead in her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, with wound, stabs in her abdomen. That athlete was Kenya’s 5,000m women’s representative to Tokyo 2020 Olympics Agnes Tirop.
Both murders came amidst active campaigns on gender-based violence among athletes, with investigations revealing that Tirop’s husband may have been behind the murder. A bail hearing for Ibrahim Rotich, the main suspect, has been postponed several times and it has now been set for April 27.